Two automakers have confirmed they will rely on theirs branches in Argentina to produce racing cars that represent them in the world: we are talking about Peugeot, which will produce in its El Palomar plant the 208 Rally4and Toyota, which will use its facilities in Zárate to, through its team Toyota Gazoo Racing Argentina, preparing the Corolla TCR.
The novelty of the León brand makes sense because a few years ago in its Buenos Aires plant it made the investments and remodeling that allow it to produce in the country, in fact, the street version of the 208. For this special edition it will apply that same base and add components imported from Europe, where it is already being prepared and marketed.
This is a strategic decision by Peugeot: although it does not have an official presence in rallying, it does provide its services to private teams, and its objective is land with that offer in the Latin American leagues. Since the importation of vehicles from the Old Continent is not feasible due to high costs, the idea of leaving Argentina was quickly taken into consideration and ended up being imposed.
With FIA homologation for national and international rally competitions, the Peugeot 208 Rally4 is a front-wheel drive five-door Works with an EB2 1.2 Turbo engine, which delivers 212 HP of power and 290 Nm of torque. The block is associated with a five-speed Sadev sequential gearbox, and the car is also equipped with a suspension kit with adjustable Ohlins shock absorbers.
In this way, Peugeot is once again producing an authentic one on domestic soil approval special, as road vehicles are popularly known that have their own special edition to comply with the regulations of a particular competition. Something that hasn’t happened since the days of the 504 TN –designed, as its acronym indicates, for National Tourism–.
Toyota, with a competition laboratory in Zárate
A similar path is taken by Toyota with the Corolla TCR, which It transformed its traditional sedan into a beast racing in the Tourism categories aligned precisely under the TCR regulation, which provides for championships at all scales: there are from local to regional and world.
The green light from the organiser, WCS, and Toyota’s headquarters in Japan has allowed the factory team of the local branch, Toyota Gazoo Racing Argentina, to start from the Brazilian Corolla to continue its development in Zárate, where already assigned a space specifically dedicated to this project.
But the story of the car doesn’t start there, but in the Toyota Gazoo Racing workshops in Córdoba, where they take the car with the basic bodywork and adapt it to add components such as, for example, the roll cage and the engine, which IS a Lexus 2.0 Turbo to reach 350 HP of powerthe maximum allowed in the category.
From there, they take over from Zárate and take care of other key elements, such as the gearbox, suspension or steering, as well as the electronics and finishing details that make it ready to hit the track.
But the numbers of that production line, mind you, don’t aim to be like those of its neighbors, where, for example, the Hilux or the SW4 come out: for a first stage, the mission is that of about 10 units a year from there come out of this Toyota Corolla TCR, all destined for the TCR championships in South America and Brazil, which have a value of 148 thousand euros each.
Is that Toyota’s goal with this Corolla is not to supply their teams, but rather responds to the same logic as Peugeot with the 208 Rally4, that is, develop racing vehicles for their customers to raceand then add presence in more and more categories.
In this sense, the TCR is an ideal platform for a global brand such as the Japanese one, which acquires versatility and can thus exploit this common code to expand its possibilities and present its niche product in different scenarios and markets.
Furthermore, Toyota’s possibilities will allow it to offer some differences compared to other companies offering this type of product: in addition to selling cars, they also provide their customers with after-sales service and the supply of spare parts for each competition.
The truth is, her competitive skills generate a lot of excitement behind closed doors. In fact, his first official participation on the track was victorious: he won the penultimate round of the TCR South America championship, held at the Óscar y Juan Gálvez racetrack in Buenos Aires.
Ben Stock is a journalist working for News Rebeat, where he covers the automobile section. With a passion for cars and the industry, Ben brings insightful and in-depth reporting to his readers.